WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services Committees, released the following statement following Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s announcement that the Trump Administration will keep U.S. military forces in Syria for objectives beyond countering ISIS:
“I am deeply alarmed that yet again, the Trump Administration continues to raise the risk of unnecessary war, disconnected from any firm policy objectives and core national security interests. State and DoD have yet to respond to my December letter regarding reports of the changing mission for the 2,000 U.S. troops in Syria, where I noted that the actions the Administration was considering far exceed the counter-ISIS mandate and lack domestic and international legal standing. To be clear, neither the 2001 or 2002 AUMFs provide authority to target Assad or Iranian proxies in Syria, and it is unacceptable for this action to be taken absent a vote and approval of Congress.”
For years, Kaine has been outspoken about the need for a new AUMF to cover ongoing military action against ISIS. In December, Kaine wrote a letter to Secretaries Mattis and Tillerson requesting information on the current goals of the counter-ISIS campaign, and expressing concern about news reports that say the U.S. military might now be used to pressure the Syrian government, target Iran and its proxies, and engage other entities not covered under the 2001 AUMF.